Below is a pretty well-known parable that Jesus told some folks in a crowd. This particular parable discusses a rich man who has to build bigger barns to hold his possessions. God then tells him that he is a fool for storing up so many possessions.
The biggest problem most folks have in understanding this parable, is that they read it literally. Now you may be wondering, “What’s the problem with that?” The answer is, is that the first words say, “And he told them a parable.” If everything in this story is taken literally, then this would not be called a parable. This is the problem with most of Jesus’ teachings and thus we take them as moral stories, such as the boy who cried wolf, but in reality, this parable is about soul science and present moment awareness.
Let’s look at the parable itself, and then we will look at the many symbols that are used to conceal what’s being said, because there is actually a whole lot going on here. It should also be said that my interpretation is not the final word, by any means. The things that I say on this site are to teach myself first and foremost, and if it helps shine a little light for others, then that’s all the more beneficial.
Luke 12:16-21 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Breaking down the Details
SCRIPTURE TEXT – The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully
MEANING – The man spoken of here is me, you, I; the “self,” so to speak. The land is an area in the mind. Many of Jesus’ parables compares the mind to a field. In this field, everything that we see out in the world with the five senses is recreated in the mind, and then we plant certain things in the ground, while patiently awaiting a fruitful harvest, or a gathering of our crops. Obviously, here we have a person who is a “fast learner,” who is able to learn and understand quickly.
SCRIPTURE TEXT – What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
MEANING – The fruit spoken of here is knowledge. It is said that knowledge is power, and the reason we gather knowledge is usually to fulfill desire. The seed is also within the fruit, which leads to the planting of more knowledge. When desire is fulfilled it can be very sweet, like fruit. The barn is the subconscious mind, where information is stored for later retrieval. What we store in the subconscious mind is like self-programming. When we bring something out of the subconscious mind, then we are bringing it into our awareness for immediate use.
This passage shows the main problem here though, which is holding onto the fruits, and putting “happiness” at some point in the future. When this happens, happiness is never experienced and neither is peace of mind, because in reality, this moment is all we have.
SCRIPTURE TEXT – And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
MEANING – This is pretty much self-explanatory, but it should put you in the mind of Solomon. Remember, knowledge is power, and this soul is wanting to store his fruits up for himself, but we know that fruit spoils if not used. We’ll discuss Solomon later in the post, because Jesus mentions him immediately after.
SCRIPTURE TEXT – But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
MEANING – What should be known here is that “God” is not doing the judging. Kingdom laws are just as natural and in place as are the laws of the cosmos. The judgement is automatic, just like jumping from a tall building will lead to death because gravity is a law. This is a violation of “kingdom laws” and “kingdom living” that is doing the judging here.
What is the judgement though? We will get to that in a moment, but let’s first note that if the parable were talking about a literal rich man, then the man would not be a fool, because money can always be left to another relative or person. However, when a person dies, the knowledge he has (or had) is gone with him.
SCRIPTURE TEXT – So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God
MEANING – Jesus said in another parable “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Being rich towards “God” is being rich towards others, and also by using the gifts and talents that we have been given for the good of all, and not just with ourselves and our own needs in mind. Love must be the motivating factor behind all that we do, and we also must learn “how to love,” so that the things we do are for the evolution and growth of human consciousness as it relates to the awakening of the divine nature that is hidden within us all.
Now that we have talked about the symbols, we have to look at the context in which the parable is also spoken. First, we have to remember that since this parable is about knowledge and the storing up of knowledge, then it only makes sense to talk about the Bible’s richest man (in both aspects of the word), which was Solomon. After telling this parable, Jesus says that we should not spend our time worrying about the future. He then tells us to take a look at the lilies of the field and take an example from nature as to how to live, because as Jesus says, “even Solomon in all his glory and splendor was not clothed like one of these.”
So, what is the lesson here? This parable is about the person who has an anxious mind, living in the future, chasing happiness or “down the road success.” This parable is about being at one with life, the creator, and the present moment. The parable said that “God” called the man a fool, and I said that it was not God doing the judging, but the already present kingdom laws. The man/woman who lives with an anxious mind suffers the consequences of never being happy or satisfied, because to them, what they are chasing is in the future, which is only a concept created in the mind. The only thing that the future will ever be is another moment in the “now.” The judgement experienced here is anxiety, depression, attention deficit problems, etc.
Solomon was a man who did spread his “knowledge” in books like Proverbs and such, but the book of Ecclesiastes tells the story of a bitter man who admits he has lived his life in vain, “chasing after the wind.” In Ecclesiastes 1:17-17, Solomon says, “And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”
One question I’ve heard asked is, why does Jesus say that Solomon was not adorned as well as the lilies of the field? Jesus told us to look at the birds who do not gather and store, and the flowers that do not toil or spin, and yet “God” cares for them. The lesson here is that anxiety is detrimental to the mind, soul, and eventually the body. Eckhart Tolle, in a couple of his books, gave the example of a young sapling that is bursting up through the soil in order to become a tree. He states that the sapling itself wants nothing. It does not want to become a tree of its own accord, but rather, God or “life” wants the sapling to become a tree.
It’s the same thing with a flower. The flower wants nothing of itself. It is in total harmony with the will of intelligent design. If the flower is left alone, it burst forth with beauty and fragrant aroma. If the flower must be picked in order to bring temporary joy to another person, which means the flower will soon wilt and die, then the flower is ok with that too. The flower wants what life wants for it, and thus provides no “resistance” to God and his purpose for the flower.
As human beings, we are designed to allow the light of God to flow forth into the world, like a spotless gem that accepts the light and then radiates it outward for the joy of all who sees it. Anxiety is the killer of life within us. Worry and fear are all things that stunt our growth. The lesson here is to slow down, smell the roses, and stop gathering fruits to be used for some “later” point in life. Through meditation and contemplation, we can sometimes catch a glimpse of the fact that time is an illusion, and this moment is the only screen that life will ever be played out on. It is the “holy ground” spoken of in scripture.